Review: Norbu Tea 2007 Spring Yong De Mao Cha

Norbu Tea, Pu'er Tea Add comments
Geoff’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"Overall, this is more than passable, but still lacking compared to its younger brethren."
Geoff’s Teaview: 8.3/10
Other Teaviews: Katie gave it 7.8/10
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This moacha or "unfinished tea" was harvested in the spring of '07 (as mentioned in the name). Instead of being composted, compressed and stored, the leaves were left to age on their own. The climate of Yong De county - not being the humid sort - was perfect for this, and caused the leaves to age at an accelerated rate. While only three years old, it is purported to have some of the properties of a much older sheng (or raw) pu-erh.

Norbu Tea mentions that the dry scent of the leaves have a very forest-like scent. Personally, I thought it was similar to lichen or just-picked spinach. I didn't find it all that appetizing. Sure, tea is a plant, but I don't run into many that invoke feelings of vegetables. The leaves themselves looked like other maocha I've tried - curly, earthy green, and somewhat old. I was dreading the brew-up, honestly.

Brewing instructions weren't on the Norbu site for this. For the other maocha, I went with a western pu-erh approach - a steep of four-minutes-thirty with boiling water. Since the scent of this was vegetal and a tad off-putting, I lowered that to four minutes. I prepped 1 teaspoon in my trustee hand-me-down gaiwan and infused for four minutes in boiled water.

The liquor brewed to an even (if pale) amber; quite a lot darker than the others of its unfinished fraternity. The nose actually turned out rather pleasant after all, mimicking a shou pu-erh at least five years past its age. The taste was dusty and earthy on the forefront, mildly fruity in the middle, and ended with a smoky finish giving it an oolong-like character. As far as maocha goes, I would probably prefer the recent harvests over older ones. If it's going to be aged, might as well just make it a pu-erh then. The gaiwan prep didn't do it any favors either. With the leaves still present, a vegetal character surfaced by sip five. Overall, this is more than passable, but still lacking compared to its younger brethren. Still, it was a pleasure to sip.

— To purchase Norbu Tea 2007 Spring Yong De Mao Cha, or for more specific information on ingredients or the story behind this particular tea, click here to go directly to the manufacturer's web site.

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